Description of Fort Laramie National
Laramie National Historic Site that is also known as Fort William or Fort
John is situated in Goshen County of Wyoming.
Fort Laramie National
Historic Site covers an area of 833 acres (3.37 km2)
and protects ruins of the historic American fortress that was originally
found here in 1830's. Fort Laramie was founded as Fort William and later
became known as Fort John. It was erected on a strategic location at
the confluence of the North Platte River and Laramie River, that
also gave its modern day name. Fort Laramie was established to
protect trade routes from the attacks of Native tribes that harrased
fur traders. Later it became an important site as a trading post and
diplomatic center for relations with the native tribes. During
massive relocation of the European settlers along the Oregon Trail
Fort Laramie became an important stop along the way.
After the completion of the transcontinental
railroad, the fort's importance gradually decreased. Fewer wagon
trains journeyed west, and regional Amerindians had been largely
subdued. The fort was decommissioned in 1890. The original
abandonment order was issued in 1889, and four of the infantry
companies stationed there at that time went to Fort Logan, near
Denver, Colorado that fall.
In March 1890, about 30 cavalry
soldiers and civilian mechanics under the command of Lt. C. W.
Taylor arrived at the fort and removed doors, windows, flooring, and
any other material from the buildings that was thought to be of
value to the government. The last soldiers left Fort Laramie on
April 20, 1890. All but one of the structures were sold at auction
to private citizens. The entire military reservation, which was nine
miles long and six miles wide, was opened up to homesteaders for
settlement on October 5, 1891.
Historic district In a 1983
document, the National Park Service describes a 536-acre historic
district within the larger national historic site containing all of
the historic structures, buildings, ruins, and sites, as well as a
separate area containing a bridge. The NPS identified 36 significant
physical remains that provide the background for the events and the
people associated with Fort Laramie. These included 13 standing
buildings, 11 standing ruins, and several buildings where only the